J Wade, DJ Rosario, RC Macefield, KNL Avery, CE Salter, ML Goodwin, JM Blazeby, JA Lane, C Metcalfe, DE Neal, FC Hamdy, JL Donovan
J Clin Oncol
PURPOSE: To investigate the psychological impact of prostate biopsy, including relationships between physical biopsy-related symptoms and anxiety and depression. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A prospective cohort of 1,147 men, nested within the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment trial and recommended to receive prostate biopsy, completed questionnaires assessing physical and psychological harms after biopsy in the Prostate Biopsy Effects study. Psychological impact was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and scores were compared according to experiences of biopsy-related symptoms at biopsy, and at 7 and 35 days afterward, and in relation to biopsy results. RESULTS: A total of 1,144 men (99.7%) returned questionnaires at biopsy, with 1,090 (95.0%) and 1,016 (88.6%) responding at 7 and 35 days postbiopsy. Most men experienced biopsy-related symptoms as no problem or a minor problem, and overall levels of anxiety and depression were low and similar to normative levels. Of men receiving a negative biopsy result (n = 471), anxiety was greater in those experiencing problematic biopsy-related symptoms compared with those experiencing nonproblematic symptoms at 7 days for the following symptoms: pain (P < .001), shivers, (P = .020), hematuria (P < .001), hematochezia (P < .001), and hemoejaculate (P < .001). Anxiety was reduced, although symptoms were not, after 35 days. Overall levels of anxiety were low across all time points except at the 35-day assessment among men who had received a cancer diagnosis. CONCLUSION: Problematic postbiopsy symptoms can lead to increased anxiety, distinct from distress related to diagnosis of prostate cancer. Men and doctors need to consider these additional potential harms of biopsy when deciding whether to initiate prostate-specific antigen testing.